Hoops Recruiting: Katz says Walker is a winner

See inside for a scouting report on juco point guard Chris Walker, who will visit Norman this weekend.

The Oklahoma Men's Basketball Team will bring in their top point guard recruit tonight when they host 6-foot-3 Chris Walker from Delta Community College in California.

On a recent recruiting trip, OU Head Coach Kelvin Sampson went to California to check out LA City College point guard Mike Woodard, but found time to watch Walker, and from all indications he is now the point guard the Sooners want to sign.

Earlier today, I had a chance to talk with Delta Head Men's Basketball Coach Brian Katz about Walker and his interest in Oklahoma.

JH: What kind of player is Chris Walker?

BK: "He is just a winner. That is the easiest way to explain it. Somebody wrote an article in the Sacramento Bee about two months ago and they figured out his record overall for a four-year period, meaning his junior and senior year in high school and his two years at Delta College, was something like 129-15.

"He won a state title his senior year, and at our place we were 22-6 his first year with a Sweet 16 appearance. This past year we were 30-2 and in the Final Four. He is just a winner.

"He averaged 11 points and 11 assists, and he was Player-of-the-Year in the state. So, if you are Player-of-the-Year in the state and average 11 points, obviously you are doing a whole lot of other things. He also averaged five rebounds a game, four steals and he is just a tremendous leader.

"He understands the game of basketball and he has the highest level of basketball intellect I have ever been around in 29 years of coaching. He is literally a coach on the floor and he is very, very competitive. He has one thing on his mind, and that is winning."

JH: Is the consummate point guard?

BK: "Yeah, absolutely. In the recruiting process, a lot of other schools got involved early on. Maybe they had a real good point and they liked Chris, so they tried to make him a combo guard. They would tell him that maybe they could play him at the three, but he could kind of be the one.

"I would tell those coaches no, no, no. He is a point or he is nothing. He has played point his whole life and he doesn't shoot the ball well enough. He is not a big enough scorer to play the other spot. He is just flat out a leader and that is all he is."

JH: Talk about his game a little more. Does he get to the hoop? How does he score?

BK: "He is a slasher, driver, penetrating type of player. He will push it hard on the break and he is very fast foul line to foul line. He is a pass first, shoot second guy. He is a slasher and can take his defender of the dribble and get to the hoop."

JH: He is left-handed isn't he?

BK: "Yes he is left-handed, but we don't hold that against him (laughs)."

JH: How did he wind up at Delta Community College?

BK: "Sacramento is about an hour from us and I had seen him several times and obviously knew about him. I just recruited the heck out of him and I actually saw him play seven games and 13 practices during his senior year. We just had to weather the storm.

"I recruited him for nine months and he actually had a running mate who was his partner on the same high school team named Sam Kirby, and we got them both. They have played together since seventh grade and all they have done is win. Sam is getting Division-2 offers. As a tandem, they are phenomenal. We just worked real hard recruiting their high school coach. Their high school coach is a guy named Drew Hibbs. He is just a phenomenal coach and he coached them both for four years. You talk about being schooled in the fundamentals and understanding in the game, he couldn't be better."

JH: What can you tell us about his recruiting at this time?

BK: "All I can tell you is that he visited UTEP, Arizona and Texas A&M, and he is going to visit Oklahoma starting today. He is going to make a decision after the Oklahoma trip, and that is all I can tell you. I can't speak for the kid and I don't know what he is thinking exactly."

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